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updated 4/4/2012 6:23:23 PM ET 2012-04-04T22:23:23

In what is definitely a dubious honor, Electronic Arts has been named the "Worst Company in America" in Consumerist.com's seventh annual contest. The video game publisher beat Bank of America to claim the 2012 title. BP won the award in 2011.

The contest is set up like a  March Madness  bracket by the Consumerist, a nonprofit subsidiary of Consumer Reports. Companies advance by getting the most votes from unhappy consumers. This year's competition drew more than 260,000 votes to set a new participation record. The 32 companies included representatives from the airline, telecommunications, banking, retail, entertainment and technology industries. First round matchups saw Google fall to  Apple , Sprint to Facebook and Netflix to GameStop — the only other video game industry participant. Electronic Arts (EA) beat Sony, Best Buy and  AT&T  on its way to the finals.

What made EA so hated? Perhaps part of the answer lies in the void left by no new corporate-led disasters such as the housing crisis and Gulf oil spill in recent years. But Consumerist deputy editor Chris Morran said EA's time has come. "Some may look down their noses at the idea of voters picking a video game publisher as the 'Worst Company in America,' but that is the exact kind of attitude that has allowed EA and its ilk to nickel and dime devoted customers for a decade," Morran said in a statement. The fault lies with regulators, courts and mainstream media who largely ignore the gaming industry, he said.

EA has been quick with its acceptance speech. "We're sure that British Petroleum, AIG, Philip Morris, and Halliburton are all relieved they weren't nominated this year. We're going to continue making award-winning games and services played by more than 300 million people worldwide," an EA rep was quoted as saying by The Consumerist via Kotaku.com.

And a reader replied, "Their full response will be released later this month as a $9.99 download."

© 2012 TechNewsDaily

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